Doc 5: College football teams that could learn from their Sweet 16 counterparts -- No. 1 Virginia

Doc 5: College football teams that could learn from their Sweet 16 counterparts -- No. 1 Virginia
Doc 5: College football teams that could learn from their Sweet 16 counterparts -- No. 1 Virginia

This offseason we will count down various topics from Monday through Friday, bringing you the top five of the important and definitely some not so important issues in college football. It's the Doc Five, every week until we will thankfully have actual games to discuss.



Very rarely do college football and basketball programs mirror each other the way they do at Virginia.

Even though the basketball team won the ACC regular season title, the conference tournament title and are appearing tonight in the Sweet 16, success hasn’t exactly been on Virginia basketball’s side in recent history.

The Cavaliers last reached the NCAA tournament in 2012 and were promptly eliminated by Florida. Since 1997, Virginia has appeared in the tournament five times with tonight’s contest it’s longest stint. In the early 90s and 80s, however, the tournament was a regular occurrence.

Football has kind of gone the same way.

It had a winning season in 2011, one of only two since 2007. It hasn’t challenged for the ACC title, but it has had its good years and bad years in the past decade.

Basketball coach Tony Bennett and football coach Mike London were hired a year apart. They’ve had similar success and if you’re an optimist, the one thing the Virginia football team could learn from the basketball team is patience. Bennett struggled his first couple seasons before taking the Cavaliers to the second round of the NCAA tournament and then the NIT quarterfinals on the heels of this year’s improbable run. Similarly, London has had struggles getting the Cavaliers on track despite a second place Coastal Division finish and a bowl berth in 2011.

Could London be headed for the same renaissance that Bennett experienced? Well, that’s if you’re an optimist.

If you’re a pessimist, it’s time to move past London, find a new head coach and hope he can perform a similar transformation like the one the basketball team saw when the Cavaliers took a gamble on Bennett.

One other thing the two teams have in common is that neither has a household name. There are no real star players on either team. It took a collaborative effort for Virginia basketball to get where it is and the football team will need a similar mindset if it wants to climb out of mediocrity and sit on the same pedestal as its basketball program.

Because there’s no doubt that London’s success this season will be measured against Bennett’s. If the football team doesn’t show some major improvement, well, the Virginia pessimists out there will get their wish.

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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on Twitter

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